Financing the American Family in the Great Depression

We have been getting great feedback from our recent posts on the Great Depression, so today’s is in the same vein.

The Household Finance Corporation was started in 1878 by Frank J. Mackey to offer loans. They were one of the first companies to offer installment repayments, rather than owing the entire balance at the end of a loan period. The company went public on the NYSE in the 1920s and made many loans throughout the Great Depression.

This film from 1935 shows that the answer to a family in debt was to borrow money from HFC.  After a home inspection deems them worthy, they received the $300 loan. The loan officer, when asked what might happen if they are unable to make a payment, explains that HFC wouldn’t expect them to do the impossible as long as they were paying whatever they could. Jump ahead to the 8 minute mark to see the loan approval scene.

Given our current banking and mortgage crises we thought this video might highlight the deep roots of our cycle of borrowing.

Does history repeat itself? You decide.

Hoover’s thoughts on why the Great Depression occurred

We found this gem of a primary source document while researching for our World History WWII PowerPoint. We wanted to see what was being said by major US leaders about the stock market crash, Great Depression and its effect on the coming war.

Hoover wrote this letter as a sort of insurance plan in case the incoming president was less than truthful about the causes of the depression. He wanted the letter kept secret so that it would not exacerbate an already tenuous situation. This firsthand account provides insights into what he believed happened and was happening in 1933.

Hoover delineates five periods and explains the conditions that led to the collapse of the US economy. He also gives specific recommendations to solve it.

We have included some questions and answers, please feel free to use them if you’d like.

Teaching the American Revolution with maps

The Library of Congress American Memory has grouped resources by topic, making it easier for an educator to find what they are looking for. This post will highlight the collection of maps found on the American Revolution.

This map shows the US in 1783:


This map shows the action between the British and Americans in Boston at Charlestown in 1775:

Boston in 1775

It is possible to search by subject, geographic location, or keyword depending on what map you are needing.

Our American Revolution PowerPoint presentation covers the major causes of the revolution as well major campaigns and battles, and the resulting peace.

The Great Train Robbery, an early Western film

This 1903 film was based on Butch Cassidy’s holdup of the Union Pacific Railroad train in 1900 near Table Rock, Wyoming. The robbers were able to make the conductor separate the cars and escaped with $5,000 in cash from a mail car safe.  The almost 10 minute film was revolutionary at the time, incorporating several techniques that became an important part of later film making. It is broken down into 3 parts below.

Although we have not included this video in any of our PowerPoints, it could be included in any discussion of the “Old West”. If you are looking for a presentation on the first half of the 19th century check out our Westward Movement; the last half of the 19th century is in our West: Miners, Ranchers, Farmers, and Native Americans presentation.

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Social Studies Lesson Plans That Made My Year

Kids can be very challenging in the classroom, and even the most cooperative kids can get fidgety when they’re facing a subject that has a reputation for being boring. I teach history, which is often thought of as one of the most boring subjects of all. I love history, but getting that passion across to uninterested kids isn’t always easy. This year, I had a new curriculum, which made my job a little more challenging than usual. I had to come up with two separate social studies lesson plans, instead of just blending them into one. To get some ideas, I went online and looked up world history lesson plans and civil war lesson plans. I found a website that covered all of these and more. At first, I thought it was merely convenient, but it turned out to be even more beneficial than I anticipated.
The social studies lesson plans I found were awesome. They used interactive games, crossword puzzles, video reenactments of famous speeches, PowerPoint presentations, and more. After finding these plans, I could barely wait to get back into the classroom and try them out. The plans wisely utilized concepts that all kids love, mainly games and television. I have always thought that presidential speeches were very important reflections of the times, but getting kids to understand that is challenging. Seeing the reenacted speeches is far more stimulating than reading textbook versions, and this helped the kids comprehend their relevance within a historical context. We had question and answer sessions afterwards, and I saw an immediate improvement in their understanding of the underlying principles and the effect on the world at a given time.
I also used the crosswords puzzles to create friendly competition and teamwork. Once a week, I divided the class into teams and gave each team a crossword puzzle to work out. The first team to correctly complete the puzzle was able to forfeit homework that night, and each team worked very hard to be the winner. Naturally, I made sure that each team had a chance with an “easier” puzzle each week to ensure that they all got a night off from homework. On Fridays, after they completed their weekly test, we dedicated the rest of the period to playing the interactive games provided by the world history lesson plans I had found. The first time I incorporated this new activity, they flew through the test so quickly that I was worried I’d made a mistake, but the test scores proved me wrong. Not one kid made less than a B on the tests.
I intend to use these new world history lesson plans and civil war lesson plans in my classroom next year as well, because I’ve never seen anything else stimulate the kids the way that they have. My kids this year are having an absolute blast in the classroom. They are learning more, and learning faster, than they ever have in previous years, and what’s even more important is they’re having fun while they’re doing it. They no longer remember that history is a subject that previously bored them. Now, they consider my history class to be one of their favorites. Some have even expressed an interest in becoming history teachers one day! Aside from improved test scores, I find satisfaction and reward in the response I get from the parents when they call to thank me for getting their kids interested, at last, in history. I’m so glad I found such comprehensive, interactive social studies lesson plans.
Written by Kelly Sparks.

Major Causes of WWII mini-PowerPoint

SlideShare is an interesting way of viewing a presentation that is accessible from any computer with internet access. We have placed our free mini-PowerPoint on the Causes of World War II on their site in order to allow access from yet another resource. It is also available on our website to download with all of the videos.

More early 20th century from our immigration ppt

Nice view of the Statue of Liberty.

Here’s a neat street scene.

Turn of the century immigration

We are lucky enough to have footage from 1906, depicting passengers arriving at Ellis Island.

According to the National Park Service, “Opened on January 1, 1892, Ellis Island became the nation’s premier federal immigration station. In operation until 1954, the station processed over 12 million immigrant steamship passengers.”

This second video shows immigrants disembarking from a ship in 1903.

These videos are part of our Immigration and Urbanization PowerPoint.

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 10:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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